Pursuing God #1: Your spirit, God’s garden

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These are the generations
of the heavens and the earth when they were created,
in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 

Genesis 2:4-5ESV

The Bible means the Book, and it is the ultimate guidebook for life.One that combines metaphor, prophecy, and history into the perfect guidebook for life. But every guidebook has an objective. And God’s objective is to develop a rich, lasting relationship with you. Today, I have two objectives. First: to show how spiritual heart is God’s garden and second to prove that a relationship with God must be constantly nurtured.

The Garden of God

The very first place of human habitation was a garden east of Eden. While Eden was a real place in another dimension, let us look at it from a symbolic perspective for a moment to bring out a point. Let’s compare Eden to your heart.

When I say the “heart” I don’t mean the physical body part in your chest. I mean your spirit. The invisible part of you that houses your emotions, your memories, your sense of logic, your conscience—which judges right from wrong—and your imagination.

Let’s visualize this inner part of us as a garden which God intends to be His dwelling place, just as the Garden of Eden was the dwelling place of God and His children. I have to say first that this can only really happen if you’re a Christian for Christ changes our heart from a place of torment to a place fit for His presence. Outside of Christ, our hearts are filled with anger, self-indulgence etc.

But, when you are a Spirit-filled Christian, your heart becomes the home of Jesus Christ.Your spirit is now filled with God’s spirit. Jesus alluded to this when He said that His Father is the gardener (John 15) and He is the true vine or the Tree of Life.

Perfection must be maintained

In Eden, a perfect relationship existed between God and his two children: Adam and Eve. They also had a perfect relationship with each other and the earth.

So many times we think of Eden as a place where no work needed to happen. Everything was perfect so what needed to be changed? But that thought isn’t correct. God’s entire purpose of putting humans on earth was so that they could upkeep this garden. Work on it to keep things running perfectly.

And that’s what I’d like to emphasize today. Once we are regenerated by the Spirit (see John 3:3), we must work to keep our hearts free of anything that would destroy that relationship with Christ and with His people. We must cultivate our relationship with God as we would a natural garden that we want to be productive.

Threats to our spiritual garden

Sooner or later Spring will come. Millions of us gardeners will break out our tools and start working on the soil. But, if you’ve ever gardened, you know that plants aren’t the only things to multiply in the soil. Weeds. Bugs. Strange creatures that target your favorite fruit or vegetable multiply—especially when you get close to harvest season.

The same is true of our spiritual garden. Satan sows fear wherever he can, knowing it is a spiritual pesticide that kills the plant of faith. He allows weeds of discontent where God has sown the seed of joy in your heart. He inundates you with sexual messages, hardening you to its pervasive effects in hopes that you get so used to seeing weeds of lust in your garden that you’ll allow them to grow unhindered.

Bitterness thrives because words are spoken in the flesh and not the spirit. Frustration and confusion wall up within us because we rush through life instead of cultivating the quiet of God’s holy atmosphere. We produce only scrawny fruit instead of the powerful abundance Christ intends for us to bear. Where are the miracles promised to the church? Where is the beauty and joy of the Holy Ghost? Where is the peace, gentleness, and faith that we are to bear in abundance according to Galatians 5?


Evil in God’s garden

Note that even in Eden there was a threat to the spiritual well-being—the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. If you read Genesis 2 carefully, you will see that God did not plant this tree but Satan had a right to test humanity and was allowed access to the Garden. This evil tree was not removed from the garden and ultimately ruined perfection. I hope you see how important it is to keep your garden clean.

In short: through many ways— media, scientific knowledge, busy lifestyles etc.—Satan works to sabotage the believer’s ability to bear fruit unto God. You are the only thing that can keep your spiritual life from becoming an unproductive mess. It is not God’s job to till the soil of our hearts any more than it was His job to till the soil in the garden of Eden.

But, unlike Adam, we are slow to upkeep our own garden. Too often we are like the woman mentioned in Solomon’s Song of Songs who confessed,

 …they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.

Song of Songs 1:6 KJV

Left alone our gardens become unproductive. Like relationships with family or friends, if neglected it deteriorates into a chaotic mess. So let us purpose to nurture our gardens until we are bearing an abundance good fruit.

The Word Seed has been sown but it is not bearing fruit because we fail to “work the ground” of our hearts. Think: after hearing a sermon, do you take time to reflect on what you heard? Do you dig into the parts of your life to which the Word applies and water it with praise and prayer? Do you act upon what you’ve heard or is it simply seed scattered on the ground (see Luke 8) that is swallowed up by the busyness of life, the worries about getting what you want, or the pursuit of wealth and beauty?

God’s work, our hands

God’s first garden was a work of creation but it was maintained by human hands. Our spiritual garden is also a work of creation by the Holy Spirit but it must be maintained by our efforts to make it what it needs to be especially in these last days of the harvest time.

As we close, remember that the Eden is a metaphor of the ideal relationship with God. Let us do all we can to build and protect our spiritual life against anything that can hinder its productivity.

Live it!

Take time this week to identify one area of your spiritual life you know needs to change. Focus your prayers on that aspect of life, then decide what you will do to bring about a different outcome. For example if you want deliverance from anxiety how will you change the situation? A good starting point is to repeat over and over that you can change it.

Say it. Believe it. Live it.

Living Words:

 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. —John 15:1-3